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Hello, Goodbye

June 3, 2020

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:13

I bet y’all just said, “And also with you.” The words that close out this Sunday’s epistle reading are used in the form of a greeting near the beginning of our liturgy. They invite us into the space of the Trinity, the God who is three-in-one and one-in-three, reminding us that everything we are about to experience in worship takes place within the life of God. These words tell us: This is where we are, in the very presence of God.

Paul did not write these words as a greeting, however. They are a benediction, words of blessing that come at the close of Paul’s second tough letter to a church with whom he had a fraught relationship. Things were not rosy in the Corinthian church. They were fractious and openly sinful. Paul tells them he is coming to them again and warns them that he will invoke his authority to whip them into shape.

He does not end his letter in anger, but in blessing. Even fractious and divided, his words tell them: This is where we are, in the very presence of God.

We live in fractious, divided times. This coming Sunday is Trinity Sunday, with readings that draw us into the inner life of God. In Christ, by the Spirit, we live with God. God dwells with us, gifts us with grace, love, and communion – even in difficult times.

As we live out our calling in this world, working for peace and justice, let Paul’s words of blessing echo in your heart: This is where we are, in the very presence of God.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

Triune God, we bless you for your majesty and marvel at your mystery. Though we do not comprehend you, your mercy and grace have apprehended us. Send us out as witness to the love shared between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Fifteenth-century Russian icon of the Trinity, by Andrei Rublev, depicting the three angels being entertained by Abraham (public domain).

From → COVID-19

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